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Rich's UNIX Fundamentals course.

Posted 07-10-2010 at 07:09 AM by rich_c

So you’ve got a window open on your work PC that consists of a black background & white text. You’ve got $ followed by a blinking cursor and you’re probably wondering what this thing can do or possibly even how to avoid breaking stuff!

Well, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news first. Maybe 5-10 years ago, you could reasonably expect to be sent off on a 2 day UNIX Fundamentals course. That’s pretty unlikely to happen ‘in the current economic climate’! The good news is, if you dust off your DIY Ethic everything you need to put together your very own bespoke UNIX fundamentals course is free on the internet. The following suggestions should get you started.

Firstly, there’s probably little point in just reading the fine material that’s available. You need something to get practical with. Perhaps you have a system at work that’s suitable for you to ‘play’ with. If you have that and the time to go through various courses at work then you can speed read through the next few paragraphs. On the other hand, if you have a lack of time and/or a system at work but still want to pick up some skills then, as long as you have a PC at home, you can proceed as follows.

There are various ways of installing and running a wide variety of UNIX like systems on pretty much any PC you may have at home ranging from a full hard disk installation to running from a Live CD/USB or some sort of virtualisation. You can go through Distrowatch to choose a system that will fit your needs or have a look at these suggestions.

CentOS – Basically, an unbranded Red Hat Linux.
Fedora – The community version of Red Hat.
OpenSolaris – A ‘proper’ UNIX.
PC-BSD – Another flavour of real UNIX as opposed to UNIX-like Linux.
SimplyMEPIS – My personal choice of Linux distribution.

Once you’ve chosen a *nix system and a method of installing/running it, the next step is to choose an online course to go through. You’ll find some pretty good quality course material on the IBM developerWorks website in the AIX and UNIX tutorial section of the technical library. The UNIX tips and tricks for a new user titles make reasonable substitute for the subjects covered by the typical two day course. In addition, some well chosen use of Google will turn up countless sites like Penguin Tutor with material that covers a wide range of *nix topics.

What you don’t get is a certificate when you’re done. What you do get is the opportunity to go through various exercises in as much detail as you want and at a time that’s relevant to you rather than cramming a lot of knowledge into a short period of time that may not get used for weeks/months after the course. Happy Hacking!
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  1. Old Comment
    I've just become aware of another way of running a UNIX like environment. http://wiki.github.com/bmatzelle/gow/
    Posted 08-06-2010 at 09:16 AM by rich_c rich_c is offline
 

  



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